Neil Peart's "Artstar" kit

Eric j

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The moving pictures and permanent waves kit was the rosewood superstar kit.

The candy apple red kit was the Artstar prototype. They were modified superstar shells. They were thinner with re-rings. I don't know if they were maple or birch. I do know that the badges were standard Superstar big T badges.
Those candy apple red tamas were 4 ply birch shells. Tama didn’t star making maple shells until the artstar ll drum and those didn’t come out until 1987 after Neil left tama.You can look it up in the history of tama drum. The first tama kit was the superstar 8ply birch.
 

Eric j

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Actually Artstar II's date from around '86 and were early 100% Maple shells. 9 ply/7mm thick, which was fairly thin in those days.
The original Artstar was introduced in '83 and used a Birch/Cordia shell of similar thickness.
Also in '86, Tama came out with a single ply Maple snare drum that was quite popular.



Elvis
Correct Elvis. The second tama kit was 4 ply birch shells.
 

Eric j

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Tama came out with Artstar II in late 83-early 84.Those shells were as Tama says,"Canadian hardrock maple".

Steve B
Your wrong the artstars didn’t come out until 1986. That when Tama started investing into maple shells and they were 9 ply canadian maple
 

Eric j

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The Roll The Bones Drum Kit was Ludwig's Shadow Blue Lacquer which was one of the few stock colors Neil ever went with for one of his kits. It was so strange to see Neil with only one bass drum but his drums sounded great. I think his Ludwigs were the best recorded drum sound.

As far as the Artstar Prototype, the shells were far from anything that Tama sold to customers. I used to run a website dedicated to Neil's drum kits and one of my site members was the infamous Robert Telleria, who was hired to restore the kit by the Ebay Winner from the UK that won the kit when it went up for auction a 2nd time when Scott Gemm sold them. Robert ended up owning the kit when the restoration bill on the famous CAR Tamas got excessive. Robert also wrote a book on Rush as well as helped develop Tama's drum archives. Robert gave us lots of inside information that was never published about Neil's Candy Apple Red Tama's. Here's a few gems I bet most don't know. The drums are/were made of 100% Birch just like the regular Superstar line. The shells were actually custom machined down thinner after Tama made the shells. Neil Graham of Percussion Centre of Fort Wayne applied the "Vibra-Fibing" - Process of applying a thin layer of fiberglass to the inside of the drum shells to make them project more. Neil always had Vibra-Fibing on all his older kits done going back to his earlier Slingerland,, Rosewood Tama Kits and all the way up to the Ludwigs. Neal Graham had a machine specially made for the vibra-fibing process that he developed and had custom built. A friend and I almost went in partners to buy the Vibra-Fibing machine when Neal Graham was selling off all the drum shop machinery before his untimely passing. When Neal was selling off the custom designed machine, it no longer worked and needed lots of repairs so we had to pass on the opportunity to buy the infamous machine that was used on Neil's drums.

The Superstar shells as presented to Neil by Tama were too thick for his liking and did not have the long sustain that he liked and as most know Birch drums are somewhat louder and more articulate with less of a sustain than maple. Neil wanted the shells to sing out thus the machining down of the inside of the shells to make them thinner plus they had to be thinned to allow for the vibra-fibing of the interior. The kit as Neil used it was far from the specs of the actual consumer kits that Tama offered. Less mass = longer sustained fundamental tone. Tama was not happy about all the modifications Neil had done to the drums since they know whatever a drum hero does, his fans and followers will also want.

Hope this helps some of you fellow Neil Peart gear afficiandos.
Thank you for those spec I always knew those Tama drum were birch shells.He didn’t start using maple until Ludwig.
 

Bri6366

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Another theory, triggered by the picture of Cordia Artstars by Zeb: power toms were all the rage back then, while Peart always opted for normal depth toms. Perhaps Tama wanted him to "go deep" and Peart wouldn't? Add that to Tama's supposed anger about the Virbra-Fibing, and perhaps there was no compromise or middle ground?
Since this thread was resurrected.....

My theory on this is that Tama had the Artstars in the works all along as Tama's answer to the Sonor Signature series. The deep shells and exotic inner and outer finish are very Sonor. They had the high tension lug (Yamaha RC and Premier Resonator). But what does Tama do to set themselves apart? When Neil (actually Neal Graham) came to them requesting a thinner kit, the light went on. Now Tama had the perfect marketing campaign to go along with their new uber kit.

The above makes perfect sense. Although Neil told Tama it (thinner shelled kit) would be a great kit for jazz drummers and suggested they roll it out, Tama introduced it with the power sizes. The other aspects of the design were well thought out.
 

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Just read in Neil’s last book Far and Wide ... he had restored an old set of Haymans he found in storage at Le Studio and used them on some demos. Liked the sound so much he asked Tama to build him some thinner shelled drums that would replicate the sound of those Haymans and that was how the Artstar prototypes came to be.
 

Bri6366

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From the April 1984 Modern Drummer interview-

SF: What was your role in the creation of
Tama Artstar drums?

NP: Basically, when we were mixing our
live album, we had a lot of spare time. I
don't like just sitting around. They had an
old set of Hayman drums sitting around
the studio. I thought, "I'm going to restore
those." I took them all to pieces,
cleaned all the crud off and put them back
together, got new heads for them and
tuned them. Once I had restored them, we
recorded a couple of demos and they just
sounded so great. They had so much pure
tonality. I put the heads on them that I normally
use, and I tuned them the way I normally
tune. The only difference was that
the shells were very thin. I equated that
with violins or guitars. It's the thinness and
consistency of the wood that gives the
character of the sound, its resonance and
the true quality of a classical instrument.
I started thinking about why drums keep
getting thicker. Why does it give you status
to say, "I have 12-ply drums"? That was
just people barking up a tree. It was saying
that more is better—that thicker is better.
That's wrong. When you have a resonant
acoustical instrument, the wood has to resonate.
Therefore, the thicker and more
dense it is, the less it's going to resonate. So
I wanted to get a thinner-shelled drum. I
knew Tama didn't make one, so I talked to
Neil Graham at The Percussion Center.
He's kind of my equipment mentor as far
as that goes. I talked to him about my theory
that thin drums will sound better. We
talked about it a bit and I thought, "Well,
I could go to Gretsch or the other traditional
companies that still make thinner
shells." Neil said, "Well, I ' l l talk to Tama
and see what they'll do." They were cooperative
enough to make me a four-ply version
of their normal six-ply set, and asked
me to keep quiet about it. They did have
the quality I was looking for. They were
more resonant and their voice was more
throaty somehow. " Voice" is the operative
word. They had more of a voice; they
were more expressive.
I expressed my gratitude to Neil Graham,
talked to Ken Hoshino at Tama and
said, "These are great—just what I was
looking for. You really should consider
making them for jazz players. The jazz purists
have stuck with Gretsch and the oldstyle
thinner shells for that reason. They
want that. They don't want big, thick,
heavy, dead-sounding drums." We talked
back and forth a bit, and then I heard that
they were going to market them as a series
of special shells. Ken Hoshino brought me
the basic layout of that ad with the picture.
The copy hadn't been written. He asked,
"What do you t h i n k we should put
there?" I said, "I've run into problems
with that with other companies. I've given
them a quote to work from, and they misquote
it or twist it around to make it a l i t t le
more favorable. This time I'll write it myself."
I thought I'd try writing an advertisement
about why I wanted this kind of
drum, why I think they're great and how it
all came about. They were glad to have me
do it, I guess.
 

CAMDRUMS

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And then what they came out with for the public was nothing like the thin shells of Neil’s prototype.
 

dje31

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And then what they came out with for the public was nothing like the thin shells of Neil’s prototype.
Perhaps not initially, but you could argue that that is what ultimately became the StarClassic line a few years later. Pretty sure that Gretsch was their target with StarClassic, initally.

I know, years later, I still love my StarClassic Performers.
 

dale w miller

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Since I inadvertently contributed to derailing the OP's thread, I'll try to bring it back.

Without digging into the details or timeline, the case could probably be made that the Artstars, with Peart's original involvement, and his subsequent departure from the Tama roster, became the basis for the original Starclassic line in the early 90s.
I believe the Starclassic line was created because the name TAMA was highly affiliated with metal and that was taboo when the 90’s came. Remember they had Starclassic even on the kick drum head when they first came out.
 
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NobleCooleyNut

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I don't know ???
He had approached the Milestones Drum Company ( pre-curser to Tempus) about an endorsement and the owner blew him off .
He then included Tempus as part of his selection of companies to investigate when he was looking for a new kit when he left Tama . He ultimately went with Ludwig .
 

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I think if Gretsch had ever given him the time of day, he would have endorsed them.
 

Tama CW

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Your wrong the artstars didn’t come out until 1986. That when Tama started investing into maple shells and they were 9 ply canadian maple
The Artstars (birch and cordia inner/outer plies) appeared in the Tama 1984 drum catalog.....printed in November 1983. Got my copy in spring of 1984 when I bought my 1984 Superstars.

Tama 1984 drum catalog

.
 

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